Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Gorilla Man And The Empress Of Steak : A New Orleans Family Memoir
by Randy Fertel

I should feel guilty due to the fact that no library in the county had this book on their shelves and I requested one of them to buy it. The reviews were what made me want to read the book in the first place. The title alone is enough to draw you in. Randy Fertel's mother founded Ruth's Chris Steak House and his father (who never worked a day in his life) ran for mayor of New Orleans and bought a pair of gorillas for the zoo.
Louis Armstrong lived a block away from the Fertels and there's some interesting information written about him. The whole history of jazz is incorporated within the story and you really get the flavor of New Orleans in the early part of the century.
Unfortunately, I couldn't stand the style of writing. It was all over the place and seemed disjointed. Too many characters abounded and started to collide. I only reached page 114 and that was enough for me.
Not recommended.

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Man Who Couldn't Eat : A Memoir
by Jon Reiner

If you enjoy reading about a man's struggle with Crohn's disease who spends, it seems, most of the book in the hospital where he is not allowed to eat anything by mouth for three months, be my guest.
Jon Reiner loves food so much but because of his illness, he has to take a different path.
I actually read the entire book because I wanted to see the end results. It wasn't worth it. I should have stopped earlier. What really ruined his story were the excessive amounts of similes (hundreds of them). His descriptions were vivid enough that you didn't need useless fodder.
Not recommended.

Friday, November 4, 2011

How To Survive The Titanic Or The Sinking Of J. Bruce Ismay
by Frances Wilson

If I had a rating system where five stars would be the best and one star the worst, I would give this book two stars. It's a shame because, for the most part, I really enjoyed most of it. What destroyed the book was constant references to Joseph Conrad's Lord Jim, where a sailor abandons his sinking ship leaving behind hundreds of passengers. I can see why the author did this although she is comparing fiction with fact but after a while, it became so tedious that I wanted to throw the book across the room.
I didn't know anything about J. Bruce Ismay, the owner of the Titanic, but what is written here becomes repetitious. Ismay was never a happy camper and after the catastrophe, he became a recluse. Obviously, the author didn't have enough material for all I read about Ismay is his depression, being morose, unhappy, untalkative, his horrible marriage and ignoring his children, etc.
The two inquiries, British and American, on why Ismay jumped into a lifeboat with women and children and his problematic answer along with the survivors that testified, is very interesting but is not enough to sustain an entire book.
The title is not appropriate either. Put this all down as one big mess.
Not recommended.